In October, after we celebrate World Communion Sunday, I’m moving into a series of sermons on stewardship. These few weeks are stewardship season for my church, and the theme verse is 2 Corinthians 9:8. Paul writes, “God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work.” (CEB) In that small verse, Paul provides an outline of a economy of grace that supports all of life.
The economy that we are most aware of is an economy of transaction: you give me something and I give you something. Many times, we carry that basic economic assumption over into our understanding of God. We give God something (for example, worship, time, service, money) and God gives us something (for example, forgiveness, answered prayer, blessings). But God’s economy is not an economy of transaction. It’s an economy of grace.
When it comes to giving our lives and resources away generously, I believe we have to start at a core understanding of God’s grace. If we don’t, giving becomes loaded with anxiety, fear, and false expectations. Three little phrases run in the back of our minds: “I’m not sure I can afford this. I hope I have enough. I hope it makes a difference.” These thoughts rob us of the joy of giving, and they undercut the basic purpose of giving. We give as an exercise of faith, as a response to God’s blessings. We give because God’s faithfulness frees us to give.